The long and rambling game analysis during an FCS week doesn’t leave for much drama before I finally get to the pick at the bottom.
I get the David and Goliath stuff, I really do. And being a proud graduate of an FCS team myself – Northeast Louisiana, national champions 1987 – I’m a fan of small-college football. They play good football at that level. Sometimes they don’t play it with as many good players.
It’s not terribly uncommon to see organized, well-coached programs “get them one” against a Division I school, and there were several examples of that last week.
The best NLU could claim when I was working with student media was a Stan Humphries-led 34-24 win at Southern Miss in 1987. The Indians, while 1-0 against Brett Favre, ran out of gas in College Station a couple of years prior. They played well at Texas A&M in 1985, but Jackie Sherrill punched one in late and ran up the score to win 31-17.
So good FCS teams can really shake things up as Jacksonville State demonstrated in Oxford not that long ago.
I just don’t think Southeast Missouri State represents a good FCS team right now. The Redhawks — 6-17 in their last 23 games — lost 45-7 at Southeastern Louisiana last week. I know Strawberry Stadium, once the home venue of Lions coach Billy Brewer, can be a difficult place to play, but c’mon.
It’s OK for me to write these things, but it’s not OK for Ole Miss coaches and players to voice the same opinions.
I suspect the Rebels won’t be caught completely off guard. If they come out focused and execute on offense the game should be well in hand at halftime. That’s the best case scenario, allowing rest for the ailing and experience for the young.
If SEMO is to have success on offense it will need Ole Miss defenders to do something they’ve done a bit through last week and last season and that’s play undisciplined football in terms of eye placement. Looking in the wrong place leads to assignment busts, and those busts can be a big problem against an option football team.
If the Ole Miss front seven plays assignment sound it should be able to slow down the Redhawks.
SEMO averaged 4.6 yards a carry against Southeastern, rushing for 206 yards on 46 carries.
In response, Southeastern also had success on the ground, rushing for 309 yards on 50 carries.
While falling behind early the Redhawks never did get into passing mode, throwing the ball just 19 times.
While the Rebels work different people at corner in an effort improve a pass defense taken to the woodshed by Jordan Matthews, there won’t be much that a guy like Mike Hilton can take from this game other than lining up and getting a little taste of playing corner with the lights on.
Hilton worked a good deal with the first team during the week. We’ll see what that means for him in terms of a starting role. Senquez Golson should play more too, and that’s a good thing.
The Rebels should be able to run the ball and control the clock. Look for more than Jeff Scott and Bo Wallace to get into the act, though Freeze may choose to rest I’Tavius Mathers another weeks. Mathers, Freeze says, makes the Rebels better in short-yardage offense.
Borrowing a line from Rivals.com Ole Miss writer Neal McCready here. If we’re talking about Southeast Missouri when Saturday night turns to Sunday morning something has gone horribly wrong.
The Rebels need to answer the bell quickly and take control early. Rest people if you can, but don’t have a half-hearted performance that leaves you wondering just how ready you are to take on Texas the following week.
Prediction: Ole Miss 42, Southeast Missouri State 13